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Goodbye Nana....

16 Apr 01 - 08:15 PM (#442100)
Subject: Goodbye Nana....
From: Naemanson

My grandmother died this evening, less than an hour ago. My mother just called me and informed me that she was gone. With that call and my calls to other family members behind me I have time to reflect on the little old woman we called Nana.

She was the matriarch of the family, a tiny bent old white haired woman with translucent skin and a quavering voice. She defiantly went on living despite the hard years, the loneliness, and the poverty. She was independent, hard nosed, and pessimistic all her life.

She was my last living grandparent. The others had left her many years earlier, in fact, my grandfather, her husband, was the first of the grandparents to die.

The years following his death were hard for her. She was alone in a huge rambling house full of ghosts and antiques. She worked cleaning hotel rooms and driving a school bus. She raised two grandchildren, my cousins, while their parents struggled to make a living.

Then she finally had to sell the old family home. It was one of the great houses. Every child should have one of these homes somewhere in his or her past. It was full of cannon balls and old guns, cutlasses, and brass knuckles. The closets were full of antique clothing and fancy hats. The bookcases were full of odd volumes and wonderful surprises. The attic was creepy and full of marvels from ages gone by. There was even a secret passage leading from the south front room on the first floor up around the chimney to the trap door in the attic.

And it was haunted. There were mysterious clocks that ticked and knockings from under the beds. Heavy footsteps resounded in the night and hats squirmed out of protective coverings and sat once more regally waiting for the woman of the house. There were wondrous ghost stories that everyone told. In her declining years someone had the temerity to ask her how she could stand living alone in the house. She replied that she usually kept her hearing aid turned off.

This was Nana. From her beginnings as the daughter of a farmer in Brewer, Maine, when she drove a buggy to the river to catch the ferry across to go to school through her hard fought years with my grandfather, then the more difficult years without him, to finally her little apartment in Littleton, Maine, she was a hell of a woman and an inspiration for those of us honored to be related to her.

Goodbye Nana, I love you.


16 Apr 01 - 08:19 PM (#442103)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)

Oh, Brett, I'm so sorry about the loss of such a wonderful woman. You know you were held in her love all these years and that love cannot ever die- she will always be with you.
Here's a BIG <<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>
and know that my thoughts and many others are with you tonight.


How blessed you are to have been a grandchild for all these years!


16 Apr 01 - 08:20 PM (#442105)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: CarolC

What a wonderful grandmother you had, Brett. My deepest condolences on your loss. And what a fine tribute you have given her here in the Mudcat.

Take care,

Carol


16 Apr 01 - 08:25 PM (#442107)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: catspaw49

Beautiful Brett...........and my thoughts are with you.

Spaw


16 Apr 01 - 08:34 PM (#442115)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: flattop

Sad to hear about your news. A wonderful tribute.


16 Apr 01 - 08:39 PM (#442118)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: wysiwyg

Sweetie.

~S~


16 Apr 01 - 08:42 PM (#442119)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: Morticia

Brett, I feel for you.....I am still waiting for my nana to die, she sounds like an identikit to yours......I know it won't be long, but I'm dreading it too.....can I lend you a shoulder now in the hope that you will lend me a shoulder later?


16 Apr 01 - 08:48 PM (#442122)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: Mark Clark

You have my sympathy Brett, and thanks for sharing her with us.

      - Mark


16 Apr 01 - 08:50 PM (#442125)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: katlaughing

Wow, what a woman she must've been! Beautiful description, Brett. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing her with us, even just this little bit.

Lots of hugs,

luvyakat


16 Apr 01 - 08:56 PM (#442126)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: gnu

Condolences and thank you for sharing that wonderful tribute.

gnu


16 Apr 01 - 09:09 PM (#442131)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: SINSULL

Brett,
I lost my Nana when I was about 12. She was very much like yours and I still mourn her. I am sorry.
Mary


16 Apr 01 - 09:31 PM (#442140)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: Jeri

Brett - I'm so sorry for your loss. If you think of more stories you want to share, I'm sure we'd love to hear them.

I never knew any of my grandparents, and I'm sure I missed a lot.

Big hug from me.


16 Apr 01 - 09:39 PM (#442144)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: GUEST,Dancing Mom

I still have dreams about my grandmother, and the old house she lived in, with the closets full of old dresses, and the somber portraits of long-gone relatives hanging on the upstairs bedroom walls. I dream of walking into those closets, pushing past all those dresses, and finding the secret passageways that lead to parts of the old house never seen before except in my dream. I'll never forget the huge Sunday dinners she made, her plum preserves,and the way she always allowed me to play her old upright piano in her "front room", and always bragged to others about her grandchildren's musical "talents" (and we all became musicians, as she was). Your Nana will always be alive in your memories. Thanks for sharing her story. Sharon


16 Apr 01 - 09:47 PM (#442145)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: hesperis

Thanks, Naemanson. I don't remember much of my grandparents at all, and the only time I know what a "normal" family could possibly be like, is when someone shares their memories. Thank you, and my sympathies with you on your loss.


16 Apr 01 - 09:51 PM (#442148)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: Giac

My grandparents died long before I was born, so I really appreciate you giving me such a graphic glimpse of yours. Thanks for the story, and sympathy for your loss.

Mary


16 Apr 01 - 10:19 PM (#442171)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: Naemanson

Thanks, guys, for your support. I am headed home tomorrow to do what I can so I will be out of touch for a while.

You guys are great.


16 Apr 01 - 10:25 PM (#442175)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: Melani

Sorry to hear about your loss. You were lucky to have known her.


16 Apr 01 - 10:34 PM (#442182)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: kendall

I didn't really know either of my grandmothers Brett, but, look at it this way, she's now with your grandfather.


17 Apr 01 - 02:08 AM (#442295)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: roopoo

My sympathies are so with you, Naemanson. She must have been a wonderful woman, and an inspiration to all who knew and loved her. The pain will be raw for a good while, but go with it.

My mother died in my arms on friday night (13th April) of a sudden stroke. Here, in my own home, where I had brought her earlier in the day as I was worried about her. She too was a little bent old lady and the last of my children's grandparents. My kids did CPR, the ambulance crew continued when they arrived, and would have done as long as we wished, although we knew it was useless. We had to make the decision to stop. It wasn't a hard decision, but I wouldn't make it on my own, and asked my older two kids to join with me. We were helping her to the loo, and I'm sure my mother was dead before we realised it wasn't just her legs giving way. No sound, no indication.

Andrea


17 Apr 01 - 02:24 AM (#442301)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: Amergin

I am so sorry to hear about your grandmother, Brett, she sounds like quite the woman. Kind of like my own gramma, who I am so fortunate to still have with me. Take care.

Andrea, I am also sorry to hear about your mom. May she continue to watch over your family and may her love continue to shine for you. Take care.

Here's a bit of a hug for the bothe of you.....

((((((((((((((((Andrea & Brett)))))))))))))))))))


17 Apr 01 - 04:05 AM (#442321)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: CarolC

Mouldy, I'm so sorry about your mother. My deepest condolences to you and to your kids.

Carol


17 Apr 01 - 08:49 AM (#442397)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: SINSULL

Mouldy,
She was with you when she died. That must have been a comfort to her. My mom died alone of a stroke at 59 - no real warning. I always hoped she died before she knew what was happening. Take some comfort in knowing you put her family around her.
Mary


17 Apr 01 - 08:55 AM (#442403)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: GUEST,Sam Pirt

My thoughts are with you

Sam


17 Apr 01 - 09:23 AM (#442424)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: Big Mick

Brett, I will go to the hill and play the Low D in celebration of this woman's life and the effect it had on yours. Strong women in the lives of men are all that stop of from destroying one another. What a wonderful legacy she has given you that you are able to let her live on in this way. Her voice will never be lost so long as you continue to give it substance. That is a wonderful and grave responsibility and I believe you are up to it. Now it is up to you to stay aware and find the next one to pass it to. Well done, kindred spirit.

Andrea..........what can I say to you other than it is a rare moment when we are allowed to see our loved ones off on the next leg of the journey. It is hard and full of questions, yet in the long view it is a glimpse of one of the great mysteries. Capture if you can, the great depth of feeling, the great mix of emotion, that you felt at that moment. And then sing. It is another piece of the puzzle.

All the best for the both of you and your families,

Mick


17 Apr 01 - 09:45 AM (#442444)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: LR Mole

What to add? Only that we touch hands and hearts all round...


17 Apr 01 - 11:52 AM (#442550)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: GUEST,tiggerdooley@work

I lost my Great Grandma when I was ten, but only a few weeks ago, I said to my friend 'I miss her'. But I only miss her physical presence. She's always with me, and she's saved my skin on countless occasions. She too was one of those ladies who made you feel priveleged to have met her. My thoughts are with you, but remember, like my Grandma told me herself "They can do more for you up there than they can down here".
You're not alone.


17 Apr 01 - 02:29 PM (#442717)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: DancingMom

Andrea, your mother was with you and your children, her family, when she passed away. It was a comfort to her. You did the right thing, although it really hurts. You guys are in my thoughts.


17 Apr 01 - 03:21 PM (#442778)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: Cobble

Deepest condolences Andrea, you are in our thoughts and prayer's.

Brian and Margaret.


18 Apr 01 - 02:47 AM (#443220)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: roopoo

Thank you all. She's keeping us guessing right to the last as the tests from last week at the doc's have come back normal, and now we have to postpone the funeral and wait for the coroner's office. As our Rector said, "According to the medical evidence she died healthy!" But she wasn't at all well last week. Strange, isn't it?

But this isn't my thread, and we mustn't allow it to creep while Brett is busy elsewhere. I will keep him in my thoughts and prayers.

Andrea


18 Apr 01 - 03:40 AM (#443231)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: roopoo

I meant to add, how nice of Sam to remember us: he was one of the people she saw in her last few days. On the monday we bumped into Sam in Tesco cafe, and I introduced her to him!

Andrea


18 Apr 01 - 11:50 AM (#443443)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: Naemanson

Andrea, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. And I want to echo what the others said of her being with you at that time. When Nana died her daughter had one hand and one of her granddaughters had the other. One of her great granddaughters was standing by with water and words (the little munchkin is full of words). She was surrounded by love and attentions.

Damn! There go the tears.

Andrea, don't worry about thread creep. If these guys want to take this in that direction I would consider it a fitting memorial to my Nana.


18 Apr 01 - 12:00 PM (#443465)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: wysiwyg

Thoughts and prayers for you both.

Deep hearts there... I would just remind you that whoever you love, they are always worth as many tears as you find within for them. Your purest tribute pours down your face.

~S~


18 Apr 01 - 12:01 PM (#443467)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: Naemanson

By the way, my uncle came up to be here for a while. He is a 61 year old carpenter and steel worker, working on the construction of The Big Dig in Boston. He is huge, bearded, and gruff, a hard drinker with calloused hands. But he is also a sensitive poet and has a finely honed sense of humor. He sat at the kitchen table on the morning after Nana's death and wrote a beautiful poem. I will share it here when I get a copy.

I was doing all right till they showed me the poem and then the tears flowed. He laughed at me. "Gotcha!" he said. But behind his laughter I could see the pain.

Yesterday we stood in Nana's apartment wondering what to do and how to do it. There was so much stuff and we had to decide who would take what home with them. No one wanted to be first. We felt like vultures but it had to be done. My uncle would take nothing.

Nana had a favorite vase, large and painted with a lovely seascape and lighthouse. She loved lighthouses. Last night Dad made a lovely hardwood top for the vase. That is where she will rest.

I am at the library and my time is up. Thanks for everything, guys.


19 Apr 01 - 02:35 AM (#444134)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: roopoo

My mother's close friend, an antique dealer down south, has sent a card as a tribute to her. In it he has listed, on 4 sides, every aspect of her character, life, loves and hates, his feelings for her - the love he and his late partner Bill had for her; the length of time they had known her. Then, by each heading is selected classical music that he feels represents her. He has also written a letter to her which he wants me to place in her coffin. Yesterday we received the autopsy result: it appears they have grounds for a "natural causes" decision, based on their finding peritonitis due to a perforated duodenum. They are not taking it further as they think this is sufficient. I still think she had a slight stroke in the evening, but that she maybe just died an hour later, as her system failed to handle what was going on.

Brett, I think these were two very lucky ladies to have slipped away peacefully and not alone. Hang onto that. I have been thinking of you as we both crawl through the same awful quagmire.

We too are at the sorting out stage. Do you feel like a burglar at times? I can find a little humour, especially being faced with the ghastly pair of late Victorian/Edwardian plaster figures that her mother made her promise never to dispose of, and which she made me do the same! I don't even have anywhere to put them! She too is to be cremated, but if possible I will inter her ashes with my father whose grave is in Staffordshire.

Andrea


19 Apr 01 - 09:11 AM (#444289)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: wysiwyg

It's awfully good of you both to share this with us. It's like you opened a window in on a very intimate scene.

Bless you both.

~S~


19 Apr 01 - 03:32 PM (#444645)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: Naemanson

Andrea, burglar is right. But as we empty the apartment and it contains less and less of her it becomes easier. Plus we have each other to lean on. Ordinarily on our visits home bedtime is around 10:00 or 11:00 with our parents trundling off earlier. Now we stay up after midnight talking of the family history and the items we have found. This morning I transcribed a tape recording Nana made of her childhood on the farm in Brewer. She was talking of her father's dog, Nemo and how "Nemo" became a family dog name.

My car is full of stuff I have inherited. Some will be just more stuff but some has real meaning. I have the lamp that sat for years on her desk. I have the drawings of the skipjack she and my grandfather rebuilt. I have the magazine rack I made for her one Christmas. These are special things that will always remind me of her.

Tomorrow I pull out and head back to Bath. My sisters are staying on longer. It has been hard but also cleansing.

My heart is with you Andrea. As Susan says we must cling to the fact that they were with loved ones when they left this world. There is comfort there. I hope I will be as lucky.


19 Apr 01 - 10:28 PM (#445033)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: GUEST,alison

My love, prayers and hugs to you both Brett and Andrea and to your families............

thanks you for sharing with us........

slainte

alison


19 Apr 01 - 10:39 PM (#445043)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: GUEST,Bill in Alabama

Brett and Andrea-

Just passing through after a long absence, and feel the need to let you know that our thoughts and prayers are with you both in these difficult times. I reckon most of us have been through this; I long ago lost the grandparents who shared their farm with us for the first twenty-one years of my life, sharing their humor, their Appalachian stubbornness, and their music with me. It ain't ever easy, and you are both much on my mind and in my heart tonight.

Bill


19 Apr 01 - 10:43 PM (#445045)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: DougR

I'm sorry for your loss, Brett.

DougR


20 Apr 01 - 01:51 AM (#445135)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: Bert

Namanson, my thoughts are with you.

You never REALLY lose people, their love and teachings will be with you always.


20 Apr 01 - 02:30 AM (#445144)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: roopoo

I have been over to her house a few times. Even the first time I went I wasn't as upset as I thought I might be, because I couldn't smell her. Sounds awful when you say it, but it isn't: she had her own particular scent - what my ever-blunt son calls an "old lady" smell. I'm sure she hung around for a day or so after she died because here, in my own home, I am sure I caught a drift of this - right on the edge of perception. Two times were when I was speaking to people she was particularly fond of on the phone. The first was when I woke the morning after she died and started making lists of "to do's". I last sensed it on Sunday morning, much fainter, but not since. It was after then that I first went to her house. She has definitely gone somewhere else. Quite poignant that she died on Good Friday and moved on somewhere else on Easter Sunday. Was she trying to tell me something?

At least it has made my husband at last clear all the accumulated dross and bits of wood out of the garage, so that we can store things that my kids want to have in the near future when they set up in their own places. I wouldn't have dared touch them otherwise!

I just hope now that the authorities do their job right and get the paperwork through on time so that we can at last have her funeral on Tuesday. (We had wanted it today). It has gone on for a very long time because of a public holiday folowed by a post mortem, and I am feeling very tired.

Andrea


20 Apr 01 - 02:46 AM (#445146)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: Chanteyranger

My thoughts are with you, Brett. A very moving memorial to her and the house that was an accumulation of her life.

-chanteyranger


22 Apr 01 - 08:27 AM (#446547)
Subject: RE: Goodbye Nana....
From: Naemanson

At the risk of prolonging the thread unnecessarily I need to fulfill my promise to provide the poem my uncle wrote.

Cast my ashes to the wind
And let my soul go free
Cast my ashes to the wind
And hope the best for me
Let me drift on wind and tide
Mountain and forest and ocean's shore
Cast my ashes to the wind
That I might be with those gone before.